Pontifical Ceremonies as Seen Through a Seventeenth Century Caeremoniale Episcoporum

One of the interesting aspects to antique editions of the Caeremoniale Episcoporum (Ceremonial of Bishops) and frequently the Pontificale Romanum (Roman Pontifical) is the inclusion of illustrations that show the ceremonies in question. Not only can this be an insight into some rarely seen ceremonial, it is also frequently an insight into some of the stylistic particulars of the vestments and vesture of the time -- in this particular instance today, from the seventeenth century.  

Schlib Antiquarian -- an American rare book dealer -- is presently selling a 1651 edition of the Caeremoniale Episcoporum and they have included a number of photos of the illustrations taken from it so I thought I would share some of the illustrations with our readers for your enjoyment. 

For those who own 17th and 18th century editions of this book or the pontifical they will be quite familiar. For those who don't they may provide some interesting insights.  

The illustrations are not shown here in any particular order and some brief contextual descriptions are offered with each illustration. 

The vesting of a prelate for the Solemn Pontifical Mass. One will see the various inferior ministers holding the various vestments.

Liturgical procession of the prelate accompanied by the various sacred ministers in their particular vestments. One might take note of the shape of the chasuble from this period -- what is often referred to as a "Neri" chasuble (which really has nothing to do with St. Philip Neri, but simply the time from which he came).

Holy Communion. Take note of the houseling cloth used to capture particles of the Blessed Sacrament. One will also note the tassels which traditionally accompany the dalmatic and tunicle.

Solemn procession of the Blessed Sacrament with torches. One will also note the presence of "seculars" holding the processional canopy. The canopy was sometimes carried by the principle magistrates of the town/city. 

The subdeacon chants the Epistle at the Solemn Pontifical Mass. One will take note of the graduated candles on the altar, culminating in the altar cross.

The Consecration. Note the use of the missal cushion on the altar rather than a missal stand.

The pontifical blessing. Take note of the ewer and basin on the credence table. 

The second incensation of the gifts, cross and altar at a Solemn Pontifical Mass. You will note the subdeacon behind holding the paten within the humeral veil.

The Kiss of Peace. One will also note the use of the Pax instrument at the bottom of the illustration.

The homily at Mass offered in the presence of a prelate. The prelate is seated upon his throne, vested in cope and mitre, while the celebrant, deacon and subdeacon are seen on the right.

Solemn Mass offered in the presence of a prelate. One will note the prelate in this instance is wearing his choir dress surrounded by his canons who are dressed in the cappa parva. (One will also note the tonsures.)

The reverences offered to the prelate. One will note the characteristically sober use of lace that was typical to this period of liturgical history. 

The consecration at the Solemn Pontifical Mass

Solemn procession of the prelate on horseback wearing mitre and cope. This was done at his solemn reception into his cathedral See, or when making his first pastoral visit to any town or parish within his jurisdiction. Given the number of ministers here, one must presume in this instance it depicts the former.

The deacon chants the gospel at a Solemn Pontifical Mass

Mitred Canons

The prelate, kneeling at the prie-dieu at a Mass offered in the presence of a prelate. prays the communio prayers from the missal

Incensation of the Prelate at a Solemn Pontifical Mass

Prayers at the Foot of the Altar in a Solemn Pontifical Mass. As mentioned earlier, the characteristic, so-called "Neri" shape of the chasuble of this period of time is clearly in evidence here.  In the background one see an incense boat in the traditional Italian navicella shape with its long stem.

A rare view into the sacristy. One will note the reliquary busts in the open cabinet in the background.
 One of the ministers appears to be handling a "custodia" containing a monstrance while another consults the ceremonial. 

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